Tuesday 22 September 2020 8:05 am

Boris Johnson to tell Brits to work from home in lockdown U-turn

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today tell Brits to work from home where possible as the UK slaps down fresh restrictions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Just weeks after urging people to head back into the office, the prime minister will make a sharp U-turn and say that people should work from home if they can.

Read more: Coronavirus: Pubs and restaurants forced to shut at 10pm from Thursday

In a House of Commons statement followed by a televised address to the nation this evening, Johnson will unveil a string of new measures to help stem a recent spike in Covid-19 infections.

Speaking ahead of the official address, Michael Gove said there would be a “shift in emphasis” in the government’s messaging about returning to work.

“If it is possible for people to work from home then we would encourage them to do so,” the Cabinet Office minister told Sky News.

“They are reluctant steps that we’re taking, but they’re absolutely necessary because as we were reminded yesterday and as you’ve been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, therefore we need to act.”

The prime minister will today also force pubs and restaurants to close at 10pm from Thursday, while venues will be restricted to table service only.

The fresh clampdown will deal a further devastating blow to the hospitality industry, which has been left reeling from closures and reduced footfall during the pandemic.

It comes after medical chiefs hiked the UK’s Covid-19 alert level from three to four, meaning transmission of the virus is high or rising exponentially.

Read more: Increase coronavirus alert level, say UK’s top medical officials

Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he will roll out fresh restrictions on the capital in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

Khan said it was important to take “firm action” now, arguing it would be better for the country’s economic recovery in the long run, as well as saving more lives.